Tag Archives: food

dallas favorites

Whether you’ve lived in Dallas your whole life, or you’re brand new here, finding your “regular” spots in a city can be a struggle. I want to share with ya’ll today some of my absolutely favorite spots in Dallas (or what I think are some of the best spots in Dallas – specifically for food, hair, nails, and lashes. you know – the important things in life!)

Speaking from personal experience here: I’ve lived in Dallas my whole life but it wasn’t until recently when I finally found my “regulars”, and honestly, they are just too good to not share with ya’ll! So, if you’re like me and have forever been searching for the perfect hair stylists, or nail salon, look no further.




best-spots-in-dallasDress c/o Splendid | Clutch c/o Clare V | Earrings c/o Kendra Scott | Bracelets | Sunnies (endless eyewear subscription! use code “laurenkaysims” to get first month free!)


  1. Hair salon – Charleigh at FORM salon does my balayage color and she has been my hair hero! Going from dark brunette to “bronde” (brown/blonde) was a process but she has been amazing at really listening to and giving me exactly what I want! I personally think FORM is the best hair salon in Dallas, because of Charleigh, because of the location, and because I’m super happy with my hair everytime I leave there!
  2. Nail salon – Bellacures Dallas is the first nail salon I have ever been a “regular” at. The location is super convenient (in Preston center) and the people who work there are all so nice and friendly! Everything is super clean (and cute!) on the inside. They have tons of color options and they always do the best job with my mani/pedi. Lasts me 3 weeks at least! In my opinion, Bellacures is the best nail salon in Dallas.
  3. Lash extensions – Okay, I know what you’re thinking. This is not something that would be on most people’s “must” lists. I thought the same thing until I found Amanda at Southern Belle Lash in Plano. I first got lash extensions before going on a girls beach trip to Mexico. The lashes were amazing and I didn’t have to wear eye make-up the whole trip. After realizing how long they stayed on and how low maintenace they were, I decided I wanted them all the time! You basically wake up and go to the gym looking like you have full eye-make up on when you’re wearing none.

Now for the food. This dress was shot last night at R+D Kitchen in Dallas. Absolutely in my top 3 favorite restaurants in Dallas.

best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallas best-spots-in-dallasI’ll be real with ya’ll – I’m a foodie, and I’m pretty picky when it comes to food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat anything but I really, really enjoy good food. R+D Kitchen has been my favorite for a while for a few reasons:

  1. Ambiance – it’s not too casual but it’s not too fancy. It’s the perfect date night spot, but could also be the perfect “mom’s in town, let’s go to brunch” spot. You can dress up if you want, or jeans would also be just fine!
  2. Service – I’ve never had a bad waiter at R+D. They are all so kind and helpful, but not in a way that interrupts your meal. They make the best recommendations and always take such good care of us
  3. The food, duh. If you can’t tell by these pictures, their food is OUT of this world. They have a smaller menu, but everything on it is a 10 on a 10. (My favorite is the Thai Tuna roll!)

I hope this guide helps you find some new favorite spots in Dallas and enjoy this city even more! Comment with any questions you might have, or let me know some of your favorite Dallas spots!

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another day, another cookie

If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ve probably figured out I’m a total cookie monster. No matter how many cookie recipes I’ve pinned, you can never have enough. Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. The recipe is simple and easy to follow. You do have to chill the dough, but only for 30 mins or so! It’s kind of a mix of a few different ones I’ve found online, with my own personal tips. Enjoy!



  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups dark chocolate chips (I use a mix of semi-sweet & dark chocolate!)


  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cooled melted butter and the sugars with a hand-mixer for about one minute. Then, add in the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix briefly, just until there are no flour clumps left. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Cover and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure you have the racks in the middle of the oven.
  6. Scoop however much cookie dough you want out and roll into a balls (I personally like smaller cookies, like less than 1/4 cup of dough. Then you don’t feel guilty for eating 10). Also – try making your balls taller rather than fatter, it helps them not flatten out too much. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or a silipat mat), making sure the cookies have plenty of space to spread.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotating half-way through, or until the cookies have spread out and the edges are golden, but the center of the cookie still looks soft and just slightly under-cooked. Let cool on the baking sheets until the cookies are firm enough to remove. Every oven is different, so I recommend starting with just one or two cookies on the tray to see what baking time works best for you!
  8. Repeat with remaining batches, until all cookies are baked.


greek-style meatballs

As most of you know, Michael and I just bought our first house back in March and have been working hard to fix it up and make it feel like home. One of our favorite things about owning a house now has been inviting people over for dinner or get togethers. We both love having people into our home, the conversations shared in these walls, and the laughter that fills the rooms.

One thing that still gives me slight anxiety though is the dinner part. I will be the first to admit that I’m not the greatest cook. I so enjoy it, but I’m not awesome at it. Last night we had my brother & sister-in-law over for dinner and I made these Greek-style meatballs I’m sharing with ya’ll today. They are so unique and yummy, and on top of that, super healthy and easy to make! It’s become my go-to when we’re having people over for dinner and I want to get a little fancier than chicken, but not spend a ton of time on the meal. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Greek meatballs

Greek-style meatballs

  1. In large bowl, mix 1 lb ground beef, 3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat!), 1/2 small red onion, grated, 1/3 c. Italian-style bread crumbs; 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley, 1 lg egg, lightly beaten; 2 tsp dried oregano; and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper
  2. Form into 12 balls and thread onto skewers
  3. On cookie sheet sprayed with olive oil cooking spray, roast meatballs at 425 degrees, 15 to 20 mins, or until cooked through.
  4. Serve with lemon slices and 1/2 c. prepared tzatziki (I just bought mine premade from Trader Joe’s!)

For the side dishes, I just did roasted red potatoes and a kale salad. But you could really do anything you want with it! Enjoy! xx

Flawless Chocolate Chip Cookies

In case we haven’t met before, my name is Lauren Sims, and I am an absolute cookie MONSTER. I love all sweets but ever since I was an infant (maybe even before), cookies have won my heart. Particularly chocolate chip.

I have several different recipes I rotate through when baking cookies, depending on the occassion and how much time I have. The recipe I’m about to share with you all is for brown butter chocolate chip cookies. I love this one because you don’t have to chill the dough, because really…who has time for that. They are also so chewy and stay soft for days!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I have!

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (this recipe is adapted from Baker By Nature, I just made a few changes!)


  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 15 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt; set aside
  3. Place 8 tablespoons of butter in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until the butter has browned.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 7 tablespoons of butter; whisk until completely smooth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator or freezer and bring the butter back to room temperature. *You’ll know the butter is at room temperature when you press a finger into the top and it makes a slight indentation.
  5. Once the butter is at room temperature, add the sugars and the vanilla to the browned butter and whisk until light & fluffy; about 2 minutes (I use a stand mixer!) Add the eggs and beat quickly, for only about 30 seconds – until they’re just combined.
  6. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes, then beat the eggs for another 30 seconds
  7. Gently fold in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, stirring only until the flour begins to disappear.
  8. Fold in all chocolate chips
  9. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (or place a silipat mat on a cookie sheet! This is the one I use and i’m obsessed with it. Totally transforms your cookies)
  10. Roll the dough into balls (I personally like smaller cookies – then you can easily justify eating 5), then place on prepared sheet (make sure to leave enough room in between each cookie for inevitable spreading).
  11. Continue this process until all the dough has been rolled.
  12. Place baking sheets in preheated oven and bake for 11-14 minutes, or until golden at the edges but still soft in the middle. (I cook mine 10 minutes actually!)
  13. let cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely. (This is the wire wrack I use)
  14. Enjoy!! Try and cut yourself off after a dozen if you can!

Make sure you follow me on pinterest for more yummy dessert recipes. xx

A Recipe from Rachel Gutierrez: Quinoa Pizza Crust

Not only is she the manager at one of Dallas’ favorite boutiques, Cotton Island, but Rachel Gutierrez is a lady of many well-rounded talents and passions, which include but are not limited to health, new out-of-the-box recipes, and creative cooking methods. Her excitement about the purpose of food in relation to the health of our body is contagious, and today she has shared with us one of her favorite recent recipes!

Quinoa Pizza Crust

Makes 2 thin 8 inch crusts

What You’ll Need:

1 1/2c. quinoa, soaked overnight and drained

1/2 – 3/4 c. pure water

1 tsp. celtic sea salt

1/4c. olive oil

(of course you are using organic ingredients!)


Preheat oven to 450º F. Place the quinoa, water, and salt in a blender and blend until creamy. The consistency will be thick ( like pancake batter). Start with 1/2c. water and see if you need more.

Divide the olive oil and cover the bottom of 2 8-inch cake pans. Place the pans in the oven until they are shimmering hot (not smoking). Remove from the oven. At this point, you can add some minced garlic and/or herbs if you would like. Divide the quinoa mixture evenly. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the crusts over and return to bake another 10 minutes.  They should be brown and crispy.

The Final Touches

At this point, let your imagination take over. Top with classic pizza ingredients, or try something new. I have recently renewed my love of pesto, but not your typical pesto. This one is made of arugula, parsley, walnuts, olive oil, hemp oil, and garlic. Delicious! Pesto is a nutrient dense food that assists the liver in detoxifying the body and helps lower blood fats. So, on went a hearty layer of pesto. I topped this with some caramelized onions and sauteed red chard, mixed with some pine nuts. Lots of vegetables! That deep red color is so good for us.

The “icing on the cake” is a few dollops of kefir cheese. I strained some goat’s milk kefir to get the liquid whey for some fermenting that I am doing this week. What is left is a thick sour cream like substance that is delicious! AND it contains lots of good bacteria/probiotics.

Rachel’s Personal Review

I tried this recipe over the weekend, and it’s so insanely easy and DELICIOUS!! I split the recipe in half to make just one pizza crust, and it came out perfectly. I only had a 9″ round cake pan, and it was a really good size. After I flipped the crust I cooked it for about 5-8 minutes, put on the toppings and stuck it back in the oven for a few minutes.  I have had it twice now, once with a pesto topping and the other Margherita-style.


The Soul of Impact Foods + A Giveaway That Will Feed Hungry Children

Impact Foods, a one-for-one concept company started by SMU graduates Ben Hurt and Blaine Iler, is making a big impact on one of the world’s biggest problems–hunger. Their mission is to end it, period. Read on to be utterly inspired by the soul of this company’s mission, learn why the issue of hunger is so crucial to tackle, and hear from Ben, an entrepreneur who believes in using the benefits of our American freedom to foster change.

LOLO Magazine is excited to partner up with Impact Foods in hosting a giveaway. We have 10 bags of granola to pass out to those who “like” their Facebook page as well as LOLO’s page. It’s that easy. Plus, you are raising awareness for an amazing cause.

What led you want to start this business model in the food industry? Tell us why you personally are invested in this mission as well.

Blaine and I met in an entrepreneurship class at SMU. We were the only students who had previously started other businesses, and we naturally gravitated toward each other to start working on projects (software, websites, clothing, etc.). Then, in class, we learned about companies like Patagonia and TOMS Shoes – companies that saw enterprise as an opportunity to make our world a better place – and we were captivated. We loved the one-for-one type model, and looked at the biggest problems facing our planet so we could start from the ground up. These problems included health, poverty, and hunger. Fundamental stuff. The one that struck a nerve with us was hunger. It sounds silly, but I love food. My day revolves around food. I spend time between meals talking about my last one and thinking about the next one. It physically pains me to think about others not having food, knowing how much it means to me. That, and some of those other problems are linked to food, or lack of food. If you and I got on a plane today to go build a school in an African village, but the children suffered from malnutrition, they would have no energy to learn or retain information. So we will tackle hunger first, since it can serve as part of the solution to other problems like health care, poverty, and education.

How did you choose your ingredients?

I have a family friend who works in the best food city in the world, New York. She helped us come up with this perfect recipe that includes olive oil and sea salt. Yumm.

Can you describe what it looks like to make the granola at this point?

Right now, I still make the granola by hand. We are growing, so soon that will change. And that’s a good thing. “Growth” to me means the opportunity to help more people. But for now, making granola looks like this: I go into the kitchen on Sunday mornings with my dad and get set up. We mix the dry ingredients first, then mix those with the wet. It doesn’t take long for the entire room to smell like Olive Oil and Maple Syrup. It doesn’t get much better than that. Then it bakes, we let it cool, and bag it up! From there it goes to a store near you so that you can scoop some up and help feed kiddos – it’s that easy.

Tell us about the quality of your ingredients.

We use the good stuff! All natural, so your getting your essential fats from olive oil and coconut, and your energy from natural sources like maple syrup.

Describe to us how you follow through with feeding children. What do their meals consist of?

At first, our giving process was relatively grassroots. We put money aside for each bag sold, then took that money down to Honduras and actually purchased meals there for the children from local markets. This was important to us because that helped stimulate their local economy. Now that we are growing, so is our model of giving. While in Honduras on our last hunger trip, we learned so much about the best ways to actually help feed kiddos, and we are already putting those findings into action. For example, we would see big bags of rice and beans piled up at the schools for their “school lunch programs”….but there was only one problem…these schools had no kitchens to cook rice and beans. So we are currently partnering with organizations who make Ready-to-Use foods (RTU’s) to be distributed so that we know the kids can eat what we deliever. So now, for every Impact Foods product you buy, you’ll be donating an Impact Foods hunger pack to a child in need.

What countries are you targeting at this point and why?

The unfortunate reality about hunger is that it’s everywhere. You don’t have to go to Honduras or Africa to see it. So Impact Foods tackles hunger locally by volunteering our time, and abroad with hunger drops like the one we just took. That helps us stay within our one-for-one model for now. Otherwise, you’d be paying $14 for a bag of granola. So we have countries that we have identified as “high-impact” areas based on research done by the World Food Programme. These areas include the usual suspects; Africa, Rural Asia, India, South and Central America; but truthfully we don’t rule any country out.

Where there is hunger, Imapct Foods is working on a solution to combat it.

Favorite memory from your first trip?

Honduras was incredible. But actually, my favorite memory was the plane ride back. Blaine and I sat down, cracked open a laptop, and started working through next steps. Next event. Next hunger drop. Next emails. Next everything. Helping a few people was awesome and the experience of a lifetime, but we wanted to know how to help and empower everyone. It is my favorite moment because it was clear that he and I were in this for the long haul. This is our life’s work.

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What are your internal (the employees) and external (the impact) goals for the future of this company?

Right now, Blaine and I both work full-time jobs and run Impact Foods on nights and weekends. So our short-term goal is to grow to the point where Impact Foods becomes the full-time gig. Honestly, I get so excited thinking about how many more people he and I will be able to help when we can pour all of our time and energy into Impact. Long term, our goal is genuinely to end hunger. The way I look at it, we both have 80 years left in our working lives. 80 years! Think about all that has happened in the last 80 years. Seriously. Google what a car looked like in the 1920’s or 30’s. Google what a computer looked like in the 1950’s. Now think about the fact that your car today probably has 20 different computers in it. And we’ve walked on the moon! And on and on. 80 years is a long time. So it’s that simple, either we end hunger, or we put the pieces in place for posterity to do so.

What is your favorite way to eat the granola?

Literally everyone I talk to has their own ritual with Impact Foods granola. Personally, I like to pour mine into yogurt and sprinkle some blackberries on top.

As a foodie yourself, what are your top three favorite eateries in Dallas? Is there one favorite restaurant you have in another state that stands out dramatically?

I’m an emotional dude, so all three of my restaurants are for sentimental reasons, so no judging!

Abacus – My buddies took me here for my birthday last year for my quarter-life crisis birthday (the big 2-5). We all got a bunch of food and shared. That’s my idea of heaven. Lobster shooters for the win! Kent Rathbun is the man.

Parigi – I’m always sad when people say they’ve never been here. I like it for three reasons. One, it is somehow always the perfect place to go. Date night? Parigi. Friends night? Parigi. Rough day at work and need comfort food alone? Parigi. Second, the owner Janice is one of my favorite people on the planet. If you aren’t familiar with the work she’s doing with Cafe Momentum – please please check it out. And finally…I’m a burger guy…and the best one I’ve ever had was at Parigi. The burger changes everyday, and I haven’t had a bad one yet.

Taco Joint – Some of my best memories are sitting at Taco Joint with my friends after an…eventful…Friday night. Migas tacos. Jalepeno ranch. Nuf Said.

In terms of another state, I’d just recommend a one-way ticket to San Francisco and don’t stop eating until you run out of money. I’m dead serious too. You’re talking to a man who has done it. Nom Nom.

Why granola?

I wish I had a story for you here, but the granola part is rather arbitrary. It was a foot in the door. We wanted to start helping people immediately, and the one thing we knew how to make was granola. We are moving into other snack foods and healthy lunches as early as this year.

Do you enjoy cooking? What is your favorite thing to make?

For me, cooking is that hobby that you love, and don’t spend nearly enough time doing. Cooking fascinates me. It relaxes me. It welcomes my ADD with open arms. It also gives me an excuse to watch Giada Delaurentiis on the Food Network. I love making Autumn meals. Butternut squash soup, roasted meats, etc. I’ll be making a Thanksgiving meal for my friends this year for the first time. Pretty pumped.

Any food blogs that you are addicted to?

Blaine’s dad is a hero of mine. A legitimate hero. In addition to putting his family first and being a successful businessman, he also finds time to (1) cook, (2) cook well, and (3) pass his wisdom along via his food blog. It’s the one I pull recipes from the most. Other than that, the Cooks Illustrated website is an invaluable resource.

What is your favorite city to eat out in?

You let me pick three restaurants, so I’m going to pick three cities as well.

1) Dallas. It’s where my friends and family are. The best meals of my life have very little to do with the food, and everything to do with how much my stomach hurts from laughing so hard with the people I love most, especially my brother.

2) San Francisco. You don’t want me to start. I won’t stop.

3) New York. I have only been once, so tell the die-hards out there to forgive my naivety.

Favorite dessert? Favorite food? Favorite snack? Favorite meal of the day?

Dessert: Cobbler

Snack: Impact Foods Granola, silly!

Meal: Whichever meal is shared with someone I love on any given day – that’s my favorite. Generally dinner with friends.

Food: Toast. Yup, just, toast. For me, there is NO better food experience than this: My grandparents (Nana and Dad-Doc) are nocturnal, like me. Nana stays up reading and writing and watching Craig Ferguson, while Dad-Doc watches anything to do with politics and history. When I am down at their place near Austin, I make toast with this Oat Nut bread they always have. I put real butter and a little salt on there. And Nana always has coffee on, so I pour some in one of their old coffee mugs. I always think about the things those mugs have seen over the years. Over fifty years of marriage. Three kids being born, raised, and having children of their own. Moving houses. The mugs have seen it all.

So I sit there, with my toast and my coffee and I talk to Nana about Impact Foods, or what girl I have a crush on, or how my brother is doing – or I talk to Dad-Doc about the Presidency, or war, or his childhood. And then the toast is gone. And even on the nights where I don’t remember taking a single bite, those are the best food memories of my entire life. To me, that’s what food is about.

Learn more about this life-changing initiative and see where you can buy this bigger-than-life (and tasty) granola here.